RAAF eyes new space command in 2022

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The Royal Australian Air Force plans to set up a space command from next year in the wake of similar initiatives in the US and China.

Air force chief Mel Hupfeld said it would be an integrated grouping drawing on the expertise from other parts of the Australian Defence Force.

"It's to allow us to establish an organisation to sustain, force-generate, operate space capabilities and assign them to a joint operation command if needed," he told the ABC in an interview on Wednesday.

Air Marshal Hupfeld said Australia was about four years behind on the defence space initiative but was catching up to its Western peers.

"Space is a war-fighting domain but we're not going to militarise space," he added.

The US already has a military arm called US Space Force while China and Russia both set up space forces in 2015.